Archives for July 2006

Please Excuse Me While I Make Excuses

So here’s what I know.

As a Southern girl, you learn to reciprocate any kindness that comes your way. If someone brings you flowers, you fill the vase with candy before you return it. If someone gives you a gift, you write a thank you note. If someone sends you a letter, you answer it. These things were non-negotiables as far as my mama was concerned.

As a blogger, I want to adhere to the same code. And I did for awhile. If someone commented, I quickly went to her site and commented in return. If someone emailed, I immediately answered. If I saw that someone had added me to her Bloglines, I added her to mine.

But then a lot more people starting coming around, and it changed things a little bit. I’m not saying that it should have, but it did.

Which leaves me here, still trying to figure out how to keep up my end of the bloggy deal.

A bit of backstory: I have been in my house one night out of the last fourteen. ONE NIGHT IN THE LAST TWO WEEKS. And I’m not positive, but I think my mental state at this point is only slightly better than an eight year old enduring his first week of sleep-away camp.

(In other words: “I wanna go HOOOOOOOME.”)

Two weeks ago I went on a great trip to Savannah with some of my bloggy friends. The day after we got home, I made an unexpected trip to be with my friend Elise. And when I left her last Tuesday, I came to my parents’ for a visit we’d planned several weeks ago.

And I’ve realized something during my time away from home: so much of my blogging “routine” is dependent on location. Since I’ve pretty much been hijacking other people’s computers for the last two weeks, it’s thrown me off more than a little bit. I’ve blogged from Wendi’s, from Mama and Daddy’s (DIAL UP IS HATEFUL), and from my cousin’s house. I came THISCLOSE to blogging from Elise’s house one afternoon, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do that, seeing as how she’s been recently widowed and all. I mean, I know we’ve been friends for almost 20 years, but I’m pretty sure that the etiquette experts would draw the line at trying to catch up on blog reading from the computer of someone who is grieving the death of her husband. I think that would probably qualify as tacky. (And by the way – lest you worry that I’m being insensitive to the plight of my sweet friend Elise – I can promise you that when she read those last two lines, she laughed. Loudly.) :-)

So I haven’t exactly been minding my bloggy manners. I’ve hit “mark all read” on Bloglines more times than I can count…I’ve read all of your sweet emails and more often than not been totally unsure of how to respond…I even asked y’all to open up your homes, and you did, and in a lot of cases I haven’t made it by your place yet.

Tacky, tacky, tacky.

But there is a flipside. And the flipside is why, in the grand scheme of things, I just can’t beat myself up too much for the way the last two weeks have gone, blogging-wise.

– I made time to take a trip with four sweet blogging friends. Only now they’re not just blogging friends – they’re friends. Period.

– I was able to be with a long-time friend who needed me more than ever before.

– I hung out in my pajamas for almost two days when I got to Mama’s – and pretty much never let go of my little one. We sang songs and read books and watched movies and loved every second.

– I’ve spent the last three days with my sister at my cousin’s house – cleaning out, decorating, rearranging furniture – all for the new member of our family who’s scheduled to arrive sometime in November.

– And I’ve missed my husband like crazy.

So yeah, I’ve missed some posts. Yeah, I’m behind on the tour. And yeah, I’ve been a little overwhelmed, truthfully, when I’ve thought about how many of you are reading Ye Olde Blogge these days, because I want to make it worth your while. I want to have something to say.

So if you would, bear with me. I need to ease back into regular life – and ease back into blog life, too. Once I get back home, I’ll re-discover my routine. I’ll be able to write a little when A. is eating breakfast, and read through my Bloglines when he’s taking a nap, and write a little more after he goes to bed. I’ll be able to click on your comments and (quickly, thanks to DSL) discover all sorts of new bloggity treasures.

Did I mention that I’ve missed my husband?

One more thing. I owe Jeana a big ole thank you. She made me smile last Thursday by giving me a funny blog award, and because I’ve been visiting Tackyland, apparently, I haven’t thanked her yet. So, many thanks to Jeana – for making me laugh with her quirky sense of humor, for giving me something fun to put in my sidebar, and for ensuring – beyond a shadow of a doubt – that at least in terms of the Christian blogging world, my mama’s legacy is secure.

I’ll be back tomorrow.

With nary a trace of tackiness remaining.

Hopefully. :-)

That Seemed To Go Pretty Well, Don’t You Think?

When we were in Savannah a couple of weeks ago, Addie asked me if the initial response to the Tour of Homes had overwhelmed me. I told her that yes, it did a little bit – but that it had surprised me more than anything else. I think I’ve mentioned before that I was thinking sixteen, MAYBE seventeen people might participate. Twenty if the wind was blowing just right.

Good thing I don’t make a living off of predictions. I sort of stink at them, obviously. And today’s response has blown me away. Thank y’all so much for sharing your homes with all of us!

Honestly, part of the reason I wanted to do this is because I was hoping to drive some traffic to other blogs – just as other bloggers have done for me – and it sounds like my crafty scheme may have just worked. I was excited that I was able to get to more blogs than I anticipated, even using Daddy’s dial-up, but some of you had so many comments that the dial-up totally rebelled when I tried to post a comment from me. It made me smile a little bit every time that happened.

Since I have been away from my own home the last week and a half, when I looked at my blog today and saw the pictures of my house, it honestly made me a little homesick. But I think that’s what this whole bloggy deal was about: sharing the things that make our homes so special to us, and also recognizing that regardless of square footage or paint colors or kitchen design, God has blessed each of us with a roof over our heads – a place that we can call home. I’m so grateful for that, and I can tell that y’all are, too.

Earlier this afternoon, Sister suggested – and then I saw that someone else mentioned it in the comments – that we should do a Holiday Tour of Homes next. I think that is a GREAT idea – so I’ll keep that on the back burner. Sounds like (the beginnings of) a plan to me.

I’d love to hear your feedback about how today went for you…if it increased your traffic, if you found some blogs you’ll be visiting again, if you felt encouraged by seeing more comments than usual. I know that some of you had problems with the Mr. Linky thing, and I have no idea why…but maybe I’ll have more practice with it by the time December rolls around.

Thanks again, y’all, for such a great day. I have a LOT of blogs left to visit, so just continue to be patient…and know that if I don’t make it by your place this weekend, on Monday I’ll be back in my leather chair in the corner of my den, enjoying me some wireless high-speed internet :-) – and making much quicker progress through the linky list.

There really is no place like home, and it’s great to know that so many other people feel the same way.

Come On In, Y’all!

Welcome to the 1st Annual BooMama Blog Tour of Homes! I can’t wait to see all of your posts and pictures – so in the spirit of the festivities, here are some snapshots of La Casa de BooMama.

You’ll have to forgive this first image. Since I’m at my parents’ house, I had to crop a picture of the outside of the house so that only the front door was showing (trying to protect my family from The Ring of Thieves, of course). But when I finally got it cropped on Daddy’s unfamiliar software, it turned a little smaller than I’d planned. You can get the idea, though.

This is our den – where we do all of our hanging out, TV watching, and some of our very best napping.

And then our master bedroom – with all shams, drapes, and throws made especially by Sister. She’s a talented one, she is.

The kitchen is pretty self-explanatory. It’s where we, you know, cook. My favorite thing is that the pantry door is covered with Boo’s artwork – which makes it functional AND decorative. You can’t see the rest of the cabinets, the refrigerator, or the breakfast area, so just close your eyes real tight and let your imagination run wild. :-)

And then, over in the corner of the den – the place where all the bloggy magic happens. With “magic” being a bit of an overstatement…but a whole lot of typing goes on in that chair after the little one goes to sleep.

Upstairs is A.’s room, his playroom / guest room, another guest room and a bath. It’s his little sanctuary up there, and it felt weird to me to post pictures of it. So, again, just close your eyes real tight…. :-)

And now that you’ve seen all I have to offer…SKEDADDLE. :-) Lots of great posts to read – and don’t forget to comment on them!

Remember, when you enter your link below, link to the specific Tour of Homes post – not just to your blog in general. We wouldn’t want anyone to get lost as they navigate their way through this new bloggy territory.

Happy tour travels to all! I’m so glad – and so grateful – that you’re sharing your homes with all of us. I can’t wait to stop by for a visit.

Tour Of Homes Update

I’ve been a little conflicted, honestly, about whether or not to do this whole Tour of Homes deal. I’ve thought about re-scheduling it, or moving it to another blog, or just cancelling it altogether. It hasn’t exactly been at the forefront of my mind over the last few days.

But I woke up this morning thinking that we should definitely proceed as planned. I think it’ll be fun. And truthfully, I could use a light-hearted diversion right about now.

Since I’ve been a little out of pocket over the last week and a half, I have many, many emails requesting “the code” that I haven’t answered. But here’s the good news: you don’t need “the code” to participate – you only need it if you want to put a button in your sidebar. And it’s real sweet and all if you do, but at this point, you don’t even need to bother. Just stop by tomorrow and jump on board.

So, first thing in the morning, here’s what will happen.

When I post my pictures – which I’ll do sometime after midnight – there will be a Mr. Linky thingy at the bottom of my post. That’s where you’ll enter in your name and the URL of YOUR post (the specific Tour of Homes post – not just your general blog URL). Once you do that, you will be officially “on the tour” – and people can stop by here, click on your link, and go straight to your beeee-yoooo-tee-ful pictures.

And if you don’t get your pictures up tomorrow, no big deal. Just come by Saturday and add your link. I don’t think that ANY of us will get through all of the posts tomorrow unless we have hired babysitters or called in sick to work, so if you add your link a little later, people will still find you.

Remember, this is a GREAT chance for people who might not have read your blog before to get acquainted with you, so try, as much as you can, to leave comments on the sites that you visit. After all the sprucing up that people have been doing :-), I’m sure they’d like to know that someone has actually looked at their pictures. So let’s make de-lurking the order of the bloggy tour day.

Finally, please be patient with me as I make my way around to everyone’s Tour Of Homes posts. I will get there – I promise – but I’m at my parents’ house right now, and, well, dial-up. The Southern girl in me has been SO conflicted about not visiting blogs lately, about reading all of your sweet comments and not having an opportunity to comment in return. So please know that I have read every email and every single comment, and I will be doing the same tomorrow. It just may take me awhile because of my techno-limitations.

I think that covers everything – you can go back and look at my original Tour Of Homes post if you don’t remember what pictures you’re supposed to use.

See y’all tomorrow – bright and early!

The Lap Of Luxury

By nature I’m a bit of a planner. A list-maker. And while I like to think that I’m just a person who wants to be prepared, I think there’s probably a little OCD in the mix. I mean, I am a person who typed out an itinerary for a SPRING BREAK TRIP in college, so basically, you know, I’m crazy.

So last Thursday, when certain aspects of Paul’s condition started to come to light, I started to make some plans. It wasn’t anything maudlin – just the pending matters of What To Do With The Child, How To Get To Jackson, When Would We Go To Pensacola, etc. Practical stuff, really.

When we first heard about funeral arrangements and realized that there was going to be a second memorial service in Paul’s hometown, Polly Planner here went straight to the phone. I called a hotel chain, asked about their properties in the area, and made a reservation. I knew that some of the girls would want to go, and I figured we would need a place to sleep. Being proactive was oddly comforting to me.

Late Monday afternoon, after the first memorial service in the town where Elise lives, Tracey, Merritt, Wendi and I got in the car and set out for the Mississippi Delta, which is such a unique place geographically and culturally that it deserves a blog of its own. Since I’m a girl who grew up in the piney woods of central Mississippi, I just can’t do the Delta justice, but it was always one of my favorite places to visit when I was in college. It’s a place where family is everything and cotton is king, and I’m fascinated by every single aspect of it.

It was getting late when we finally got to the hotel, which I won’t mention by name but may or may not rhyme with Barefield Binn, and it seemed like a pretty nice place, all nestled up against the Mississippi River levy, only blocks away from the church and the cemetery we’d be visiting the next morning. It seemed functional, efficient, practical – exactly what we needed.

But I think maybe the first indicator that it wasn’t quite time for me to pat myself on my planning back was that our “doormen” were a couple of stray cats who were jumping in the garbage can by the front door and – I kid you not – leaping out of the garbage can with chicken bones in their mouths. Merritt seemed concerned that the cats weren’t being taken care of and thus had been forced to forage for food, but I was just concerned that there were HUNGRY CATS LEAPING IN AND OUT OF THE GARBAGE CAN. That has to be some sort of urban legend omen. Has to be.

Once we got in the lobby and looked around, we had to wait a few minutes behind a gentleman who was also checking in. I couldn’t help but laugh when he asked the girl behind the desk if his reservation was for a smoking room, and when he heard that yes, it was, he replied, “Well, it’s a good thing – because if it’s not, it will be when I leave!” And then he went into a full-fledged coughing fit, which I feel is perhaps an indicator that he might should, you know, stop all the smoking. But maybe that’s just me.

I should probably tell you that Wendi and Merritt, who were roommates in college, are scaredy-cats extraordinaire. Before we even got to the hotel, they were plotting all the ways they were going to ensure our safety, either by moving furniture in front of the door, or – my favorite – PUTTING TACKS UNDERNEATH THE WINDOW, because, as we all know, tacks are an EXCELLENT crime deterrent, cited far and wide by Safety Experts as the #1 way to stop a BAND OF THIEVES dead in their tracks. I mean, a deadbolt lock can only do so much…you really need those tacks under the window to provide some extra peace of mind.

Once we got up to the room, we immediately noticed that it wasn’t just humid – it was DAMP. Borderline wet. The window unit was pumping out cool air, but seeing how the humidity in the Delta is about 98% at all times, we were pretty much standing in the middle of a cold sauna. And no way were we going to let our feet touch that wet-ish carpet. Oh no ma’am. Flip flops would be the order of the day – or night, as it were.

Everybody immediately got ready for bed – we were exhausted and pretty desperate for sleep. Merritt did read a page or two from her book (I had to include that detail because it’s something that has never happened before, and I wanted to capture the moment for all posterity – a bit of heritage for her children, if you will), but we went to sleep pretty quickly. Safe and sound, snuggled in our semi-wet beds. Just a little piece of heaven on earth, it was.

You can imagine our delight when, around 2:30 in the AM, the fire alarm in the hall sounded with the force of all nature. The four of us leapt out of bed so quickly that Tracey, when recounting our luxurious overnight stay, said, “All I could see were arms and legs flailing everywhere.” I think what tickles me the most is that, despite the fact that an alarm was blaring and we were awakened from a deep sleep, not a single one of us hit the floor without getting our feet in flip flops first. Because, I mean, if you’re in a fire, your number one concern is almost certainly preventing direct contact between the damp carpet’s mold and mildew spores and your bare feet. Right?

As it turns out, it was a false alarm – though that didn’t keep Wendi from plotting our escape as we dashed around the room with no particular destination in mind. We were all sort of running from bed to bed, from door to window, not doing a single one of the things you learn to do in fire drills, and at one point I heard Wendi say, “You know, we’re only on the 2nd floor. It’s not that far a jump, girls! It’s not that far a jump! I’ll get that TV and throw it through the window and we’ll be out of here in no time! I’ll throw it right through the window!”

The mother of four children, ladies and gentlemen!

We all slept fitfully for the rest of the night – and just like college, Tracey was the last one to get out of bed the next morning (by the way, one of my favorite tales from our week together was when T., who has three children, told her husband, in all seriousness, “Imagine something that you really dread doing. Something you HATE doing. That’s how I feel about getting out of bed in the morning”). And if you’ve doubted my assertions of the high level of humidity in the room, I offer you one more detail as proof: when I was putting on my make-up, the brush that I use for blush was wet. Not that I’d run it under the faucet or anything – it had just been sitting in my make-up bag.

Can’t wait to make YOUR family some reservations at the Barefield Binn, can you?

But you know, just like everything we’ve ever done together, the whole experience was oddly fun – not in a Oh-I-Can’t-Wait-To-Do-That-Again sort of way, but in a Well-If-I-Have-To-Stay-In-A-Hotel-With-Scavenging-Cats-And-An-Abundance-Of-Mildew-I’m-Glad-I-Was-With-Y’all sort of way.

The stuff of memories, you know?

More Fun Than Blogging Girls Should Be Allowed

First, we had a ball in Savannah. I need a couple of days to process my thoughts so that I can sufficiently wax poetic about Paula’s collard greens and candied yams, because OH MY WORD they were delicious. In fact, the candied yams were so good that I had to call my mama from the table. Seriously. And I’m pretty sure that I’ve never felt more Southern than I did when I said, “Mama. You know how I’m in Savannah? Well, we’re at Paula Deen’s restaurant, and her candied yams are SO GOOD, Mama. I just wanted to tell you that.”

And the sweet tea was delicious. Because I KNOW all you Southern girls are wondering. Honestly, I think of all the concerns I had about finally going to The Lady and Sons (what if it doesn’t live up to the hype, what if the food’s not good, etc.), the biggest possible letdown would have been if Paula’s sweet tea wasn’t good. But it was perfection. Just the right color. Two big chunks of fresh lemon. A little sprig of mint. And bottomless. Perfection.

Second, I’m a little, er, behind on answering email, reading comments, mailing out links for the Tour of Homes (by the way, I told the girls on our trip that when I originally posted the Tour of Homes idea, I honestly thought that 15, maybe 20 people would participate. Seriously. So when I got home today and checked comments for that post, I’m pretty sure that my mouth fell down to the floor and only returned to its proper place a few minutes ago). :-) Anyway, I’ll get all of those details taken care of by the end of the week – so thanks in advance for your patience.

And just in case a few of you are confused about how the Tour of Homes will work, here’s a little reminder. I will not post everyone’s pictures here on my blog. I will LINK to everyone’s post with pictures here. So you’ll get your pictures posted on your own blog on July 27th, then pop in over here and add your name and URL to a Mr. Linky list. If you’re not sure what that means, take a look at how Shannon handles Works For Me Wednesday here. It’s really pretty simple.

Third, after about five days away from my people, I need to see my little family. And squeeze them tight. And snuggle.

So I’ll see y’all tomorrow. :-)